PT on group rides



buckhorn

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Aug 17, 2006
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Twice a week I do a group ride with the locals and after this morning's ride I was looking at the data in CP and it really made me wonder if these rides are helping me to get stronger. The rides are always 1:15- 1:25 minutes long, and will include either one or two good hills (~1- 2 miles long). I tend to do more than my share of pulling, and feel that if I just sit in I am not getting any stronger.

So looking at the power data from this morning, when I dump the numbers into training zones I get the following...

AR- 25:06 37.5% (mostly slow roll out/ warming up)
End.- 11:52 17.7%
Tempo- 6:39 9.9%
Threshold- 5:18 7.9%
VO2- 4:51 7.3%
Anaerobic Capacity- 13:09 19.6%

My FTP is 315, Av Watts for 1:18 was 216, NP was 305, IF was 96.9, VI was 1.41.

I really like riding with the group, and have no intentions of stopping, but I am wondering what benefit I am getting out of this workout.

Is there a benefit to all that AC work? The AC time is either from climbing or pulling, and I don't mind the hard work.

Thanks.
 

Woofer

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Dec 31, 2004
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buckhorn said:
Twice a week I do a group ride with the locals and after this morning's ride I was looking at the data in CP and it really made me wonder if these rides are helping me to get stronger. The rides are always 1:15- 1:25 minutes long, and will include either one or two good hills (~1- 2 miles long). I tend to do more than my share of pulling, and feel that if I just sit in I am not getting any stronger.

So looking at the power data from this morning, when I dump the numbers into training zones I get the following...

AR- 25:06 37.5% (mostly slow roll out/ warming up)
End.- 11:52 17.7%
Tempo- 6:39 9.9%
Threshold- 5:18 7.9%
VO2- 4:51 7.3%
Anaerobic Capacity- 13:09 19.6%

My FTP is 315, Av Watts for 1:18 was 216, NP was 305, IF was 96.9, VI was 1.41.

I really like riding with the group, and have no intentions of stopping, but I am wondering what benefit I am getting out of this workout.

Is there a benefit to all that AC work? The AC time is either from climbing or pulling, and I don't mind the hard work.

Thanks.
Although neat to look at, most of the zone stuff is not very useful, just use your AP, NP and maybe a mean maximal normalized power chart to help analyze the ride.

You should let your short and long term goals determine how you should ride on the group ride, ie have fun, socialize, do x intervals at whatever zone, practice bridging/attacking/leading out, whatever, use it as a warmup for a longer ride. Maybe you should do more than just sit in and change things up, especially if you are conscious of getting stale.
 

Spunout

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Sep 21, 2005
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Once you train with power and go on a group ride...you realize how little training you are actually doing.

By all means, go improve your pack skills, socialize...but your serious training either happens on another day or after.
 

frenchyge

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Apr 3, 2005
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Yep, then it's hard to resist the urge to inform the rest of the group how much time they're wasting. :D
 

Spunout

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Sep 21, 2005
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...which is why once you have your power meter you don't show up for group rides anymore...
 

frenchyge

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Apr 3, 2005
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Spunout said:
...which is why once you have your power meter you don't show up for group rides anymore...
Going back to the original post: 1hr18min at an IF of 96.9 still constitutes good threshold training, even though a majority of time wasn't spent in Level 4. As has been mentioned, the time by level breakout isn't all that useful for characterizing the ride because it doesn't tell you how long each excursion into a particular level really was. If you were to look at the ride using the 30-sec averaging, you'd probably see a lot more L4 and a lot less L1 and L6, and the time by level would more closely represent the 96.9 IF of the overall ride. All that L6 time doesn't mean that you're getting a lot of AC benefit, nor that you're not increasing threshold power.

Group rides can still be good training if you're with a fit group and everyone is willing to maintain a good pace with short, hard pulls. If you have people who like to chat while they're on the front of the group, then you'll have to do other things like pull more frequently or ride slightly out of line to stay in the wind. Or, do what many of us do and use the group rides as recovery from our solo training or longer endurance rides.

Here are some other threads on the subject:
http://www.cyclingforums.com/t364840.html

http://www.cyclingforums.com/t318535.html
 

mullerrj

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Mar 26, 2007
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buckhorn said:
Twice a week I do a group ride with the locals and after this morning's ride I was looking at the data in CP and it really made me wonder if these rides are helping me to get stronger. The rides are always 1:15- 1:25 minutes long, and will include either one or two good hills (~1- 2 miles long). I tend to do more than my share of pulling, and feel that if I just sit in I am not getting any stronger.

So looking at the power data from this morning, when I dump the numbers into training zones I get the following...

AR- 25:06 37.5% (mostly slow roll out/ warming up)
End.- 11:52 17.7%
Tempo- 6:39 9.9%
Threshold- 5:18 7.9%
VO2- 4:51 7.3%
Anaerobic Capacity- 13:09 19.6%

My FTP is 315, Av Watts for 1:18 was 216, NP was 305, IF was 96.9, VI was 1.41.

I really like riding with the group, and have no intentions of stopping, but I am wondering what benefit I am getting out of this workout.

Is there a benefit to all that AC work? The AC time is either from climbing or pulling, and I don't mind the hard work.

Thanks.
Buckhorn, I disagree with Woofer re: the Training Zones. I ALWAYS look at my zones to see the percentage of work in each zone. For getting stronger, which is what you alluded to, I like to see a high percentage of time in L4 (LT Zone). I think time in L4 is the best bang for the buck as far as getting stronger. (8% doesn't sound like a lot) It's worked for me. 20% in the AC Zone seems a bit high..although that is good for increasing VO2max and sprinting. But as someone suggested, don't look at these group rides as "pure training" they are more social than anything. I'm not saying you can't benefit from them..it's just not the best time/place. I found the best way to perform interval training is on an indoor trainer. For that, I use the Cycleops Pro 300PT..because I can just dial in the wattage I want and go for it. There is no variability like there is on the road. Besides, it's tough for me to find a hill where I can do 2x20s at L4 around my neighborhood. If you don't have an indoor Power Tap trainer, and want more L4 time..stay out front or find a group that you can barely hang on to. And you're right, just sitting in is doing nothing for you. You're better out front pulling or doing hills for such a short ride. So, make it short and intense..then get some rest.
 

buckhorn

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Aug 17, 2006
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Thanks for all the responses. It seems I am not the first to "discover" the problems with group rides. On the rides there are typically 3-5 of us that do most of the pulling, and I think we all work our tails off when in the front. The group is usually 10- 15 people with one regroup at the top of the longest hill. Most of the pulls are between 2- 4 minutes long, and it is rare that the effort is anything but race pace.

On a side note, I was pulling on Wednesday into the wind for 2.5' near the end of the ride and needed a short break. So I pull off and the group starts going past, but none of those wheel suckers would let me back in! I had to wait for all 10 riders to go by, then hop on the back. Kind of ticked me off because I wanted to stay near the front for the sprint finish, and most of those that wouldn't let me back in had not taken a single pull. I ended up starting my sprint from near the back of the pack, and ended up leading out two of those same stinking wheel suckers.

Just ranting....
 

frenchyge

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Apr 3, 2005
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buckhorn said:
On a side note, I was pulling on Wednesday into the wind for 2.5' near the end of the ride and needed a short break. So I pull off and the group starts going past, but none of those wheel suckers would let me back in! I had to wait for all 10 riders to go by, then hop on the back. Kind of ticked me off because I wanted to stay near the front for the sprint finish, and most of those that wouldn't let me back in had not taken a single pull. I ended up starting my sprint from near the back of the pack, and ended up leading out two of those same stinking wheel suckers.

Just ranting....
LOL. That's why you have to cut the baggage loose *before* the final wind-up. :D
 

buckhorn

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Aug 17, 2006
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I agree, need to stop re- grouping at the top of the climb. Cracks me up to see the last guys up the hill go flying off the front on the descent because you know it ain't gonna last.
 

mullerrj

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Mar 26, 2007
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buckhorn said:
Thanks for all the responses. It seems I am not the first to "discover" the problems with group rides. On the rides there are typically 3-5 of us that do most of the pulling, and I think we all work our tails off when in the front. The group is usually 10- 15 people with one regroup at the top of the longest hill. Most of the pulls are between 2- 4 minutes long, and it is rare that the effort is anything but race pace.

On a side note, I was pulling on Wednesday into the wind for 2.5' near the end of the ride and needed a short break. So I pull off and the group starts going past, but none of those wheel suckers would let me back in! I had to wait for all 10 riders to go by, then hop on the back. Kind of ticked me off because I wanted to stay near the front for the sprint finish, and most of those that wouldn't let me back in had not taken a single pull. I ended up starting my sprint from near the back of the pack, and ended up leading out two of those same stinking wheel suckers.

Just ranting....
That's funny..only because I've experienced the same on my Tuesday night races. What you need to do is to get to know the 3-5 people (such as yourself) that do all the pulling and instruct the last of the 5 to let you back in-line after your pull. In return you'd do the same for them..since they're most likely in the same boat as you. If you're exhausted to pull again for 2.5 min. (so quickly) just take a shorter pull and jump back inline until you know you can drop to the back of all 10-15 and hang. I'd do this especially when I knew a sprint was coming up...so I'm upfront. (We usually have 2 sprints in a 10 mile loop, 3 loops total) After all, why should you pull all night and have these wheel suckers sprint past you at the sprint finish? Hey, their opinion is probably that they're smarter and just conserving energy for the sprint or that they're tired and just hanging themselves..which is fine. In fact, I've done just what I'm suggesting..and it works. If anyone of the others (out of 10 or 15) complain (which some might)..tell them to pull their share or shut up. That usually keeps them quiet.
 

cPritch67

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Apr 12, 2004
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mullerrj said:
That's funny..only because I've experienced the same on my Tuesday night races. What you need to do is to get to know the 3-5 people (such as yourself) that do all the pulling and instruct the last of the 5 to let you back in-line after your pull. In return you'd do the same for them..since they're most likely in the same boat as you. If you're exhausted to pull again for 2.5 min. (so quickly) just take a shorter pull and jump back inline until you know you can drop to the back of all 10-15 and hang. I'd do this especially when I knew a sprint was coming up...so I'm upfront. (We usually have 2 sprints in a 10 mile loop, 3 loops total) After all, why should you pull all night and have these wheel suckers sprint past you at the sprint finish? Hey, their opinion is probably that they're smarter and just conserving energy for the sprint or that they're tired and just hanging themselves..which is fine. In fact, I've done just what I'm suggesting..and it works. If anyone of the others (out of 10 or 15) complain (which some might)..tell them to pull their share or shut up. That usually keeps them quiet.


Makes me miss the old group ride a bit........ :eek:

Just remember, you're the one getting stronger by doing their pulls.
 

NM87710

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May 11, 2006
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After getting PM'd 2 years ago I've pretty much moved away from group rides for core training. Even when I do one I stick to my training plan. That might mean I tow the whole group, ride out in the wind, watch the group ride away, si tin for some L2, etc. After decades of doing group rides I've come to conclude that they eventually all turn into testostofest pseudo races with riders not wanting to get dropped and more interested in trying to get an ego "win" on the sprint, climb, finish, etc. than training.

Sometimes on group rides when riders who always sit in are all tucked safely inline I ask "Are you racing or training today?" The bright ones(those upgrading) figure it out sooner or later...

Gotta go - group ride time :rolleyes:
 

daveryanwyoming

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Oct 3, 2006
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NM87710 said:
After getting PM'd 2 years ago I've pretty much moved away from group rides for core training
Gotta agree with this and similar posts above. I do group rides for fun, to be social, to ride a bit with team mates or if I want some random L5/L6 work that feels more like racing and less like training. But I no longer do them as core training or kid myself that I'm getting much FTP or SST work out of them.
.... After decades of doing group rides I've come to conclude that they eventually all turn into testostofest pseudo races with riders not wanting to get dropped and more interested in trying to get an ego "win" on the sprint, climb, finish, etc. than training...
Yep, that's my experience as well. They either tend to be "nice" rides where everybody rides in a two up paceline, stops for flats and socializes (and the power is down in low L1 range most of the time). Or they tend to be hammerfests where folks get cagey, hammer the same sections every time and try to tear each others legs off for a couple of minutes at a time. Those can be good L6 or if you're lucky and the attacks are a bit longer good L5 work but I don't plan a lot of L6 in my training week and tend to do focused L5 work on my own. It's still nice to get some race like speed work from time to time and a lot more fun to sprint against others but all in all most group rides aren't great training.

-Dave
 

NomadVW

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Aug 12, 2005
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Agree that at some point you realize group rides are great for group riding, but not so great for _specific_ training. Training with a power meter reinforces that. I don't ever do group rides if I want to do a specific workout, but I enjoy the workouts I get.

As far as power distribution break down goes, I don't even look at it anymore. I really don't think it says much of anything for any of the SST/threshold zones, because there is some expectation that they require an amount of time to receive physiological benefit. Just because you're passing through L4 while going to L5+ doesn't mean you get L4 benefit.
 

doctorSpoc

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Nov 18, 2005
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while i agree that you need to do specific training on your own... i don't agree that you can't get a good workout from a group ride... my reaction is that you just aren't pulling long enough and/or hard enough or you are riding with a group is just not advanced enough for you or it's way to big.

here is an extreme example of a group ride last summer where i produce most of my best numbers (10min, 20min, 30min) for the year... i was flying.. large group of 12-15 on the way out and a group of 6 on the way back

FTP ~250-260, weight ~56kg...

4:16 hrs of rolling terrain...

2:35 T+
1:54 Th+
33.75 VO2
47min AC

typical group ride that i do once a week.. ~2:45 hr with a few hills...

1:36 T+
1:07 Th+
18min VO2
29min AC

i think you'd agree that these are great workouts...

and i don't think looking at total AP and NP tells you anything about a group ride where it tends to be race like with section of very high intensity with other lower intensity sections... need to go through it and say ok the hills were this long and i did 350W... did a 20min section at ave x watts etc, etc.. total ave power and total np are meaningless on a group ride just like they are meaningless in a race... sucess in races depend on you being able to do x watts for x period of time or you're dropped and it's game over...
 

velobob

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Sep 15, 2004
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I don't mind group rides that have big long climbs where everyone goes at their own pace. Also I find that if I tell people I need to get in 2 x 20minutes during a long group ride then they don't mind me taking a couple of huge pulls.